If the idea of a robotic companion has you reminiscing about Rosie from The Jetsons or Star Wars’ character favourites, R2-D2 and C-3PO, you’re not alone. Robots helping out at home (or across the universe) is a concept no longer relegated to science fiction and has evolved in the real-world way past Roombas and is even shooting past Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Home. While the concept of owning a robotic companion may be a challenge for people to adapt to – let alone accept – it is especially useful for ailing seniors.
The number of senior citizens in Canada is growing, as is the demand for personal care workers. Since many seniors require the daily presence of someone to assist them with everything from getting undressed to using the bathroom, it can be exhausting for caregivers who have many responsibilities beyond assisting with these basic tasks.
Robotic companions are slowly entering households to provide some much-needed relief, and it may be the best thing for improving the lives of aging residents, as well as cutting back on the demands of caregivers.
Here are just a handful of the types of robotic companions currently on the market.
ELLiQ is a tabletop device made exclusively for aging adults to keep them active and engaged. It can remind seniors to take their medication and exercise, all while reducing the mental strain on caregivers to monitor those frequent needs.
Toyota’s Human Support Robot
Toyota’s innovative Human Support Robot (HSR) is a roaming device that assists people in their home with various requests, such as fetching items, monitoring the house, or connecting family members with its video interface.
One of the friendliest robotic companions available is KURI; a roaming bot that closely mimics the animations and sounds of RD-D2. KURI navigates your home, records video, plays music, and responds to your voice with “eye contact” and chirps.
Much like ELLiQ, JIBO is a tabletop device, but like KURI, JIBO is much friendlier and focused on the social aspects of having a robotic companion. He listens, recognizes faces, and expresses itself through animated movements.
A simpler companion that provides comfort, PARO is a soft seal that fits on any lap and behaves like a household pet. It works to provide therapeutic benefits to owners, such as reduced stress and improved motivation and relaxation.
Hasbro’s Interactive Companion Pets
Hasbro’s Joy For All line of companion pets are the simple and furry alternatives to having living pets in the home. The companion dog and companion cat are two robotic friends that are soothing for elderly owners and can provide joy when caregivers or loved ones are not available.
Looking forward, robotic companions may soon be able to assist the elderly with performing physical tasks, such as getting out of bed and getting dressed.
If you know someone who would benefit from having one of these robotic pals in their home, be sure to share this list with them.